Community Service: Cascades comes by it naturally

To support and assist the communities is a way of life for Cascades founders.


With close to $3,000,000 donated to various charities and causes in 2011, Cascades continues to follow a tradition close to the heart of its founders… to support and assist the communities that welcome us among them. And there are many communities to consider, given that Cascades has some 100 facilities in as many regions, each with its own particular needs. Understanding and being sensitive to those needs is the job of the Lemaire brothers, who learned early on about the value of community connections. Now this culture of compassion is engrained in the Cascades DNA.

Exceptional people achieves exceptional things

Long before the company became an international success, the founding brothers Bernard, Laurent and Alain Lemaire were already wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They came by it honestly, having grown up in a family that was large and humble, in a home filled with love. You can read about it here, where my colleague describes it well. Centre-du-Québec, the region in which the three brothers began their life journeys, still benefits from their exceptional kindness. Surprised? You might also be surprised to know that Cascades employees enjoy a profit-sharing arrangement with management, which is increasingly unusual these days. And we Cascaders appreciate and believe in the company’s generosity, because we’ve experienced it first-hand; it’s no myth! The founders are true humanitarians with a sincere desire to respect and value those whose lives are touched by their achievements.

For many years now, the Cascades business model has been taught in universities and colleges as a working example; particularly the company’s core culture and values. It stands out as a success story – the Lemaire brothers succeeded because of their roots, not despite them. They are loyal to their commitment because it reflects who they genuinely are, in everyday life. Cascades was created in their image.

Sustainable development, entrepreneurial spirit, and amateur sports

Over the years and out of necessity, the company’s generosity has become more structured. The Lemaire Family Foundation, as an example, was established and responds to the many requests made by the surrounding communities, usually in the areas of health care and education. A management practice and a committee were set up to administrate the practical aspects of managing donations and sponsorships, with a focus on three targets: sustainable development, entrepreneurial spirit, and amateur sports. As a result, Cascades lends support to vetted organizations such as Équiterre, Action Re-buts and La Semaine québécoise de réduction des déchets, the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship and the École d’entrepreneurship de Beauce, the Fondation de l’Athlète d’excellence du Québec and the 2013 Canada Games.

To give or to sponsor, that’s the only question!

If you think that donations and sponsorships are the same, you might be interested in knowing the difference. Donations are given from a pure philanthropic heart – to give without any expectation of receiving. Sponsorships provide exposure to the company in exchange for financial or other assistance. They are also a way for others to get to know who we are, and an opportunity to meet suppliers and consumers of our many products. Either way, both donations and sponsorships are invaluable ways for Cascades to connect and communicate with the world around us.

We welcome and encourage your comments. For more information on Cascades’ policy of donating and sponsoring, please go here.

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About the Author
Marie-Josée Carrier

Marie-Josée joined Cascades as a Communications Advisor in 2006. Creative, playful and passionate, she is now taking on new professional challenges as she assumes the role of Communications and Sustainable Development Coordinator at Cascades Tissue Group in Toronto. Before joining the Communications Department at Cascades, Marie-Josée was a journalist, having studied political science at the Université Laval in Quebec City. She now juggles between the role she considers the most important in her life, being the mother of Mégane and Alexis, and her job as Communications and Sustainable Development Coordinator. What she finds the most exciting in her professional life is increasing Cascades’ visibility, while educating consumers about the importance of making informed decisions that are respectful of the environment. “We are all responsible for protecting the planet we live on. Sustainable development is much more than a trend; it is one of the essential foundations on which we should be basing our decisions. I am proud to work for a company that has known this for 50 years. Cascades’ philosophy and values are in line with mine, which is why I find it so easy to share them.”

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